OAKLAND -- Oakland's Opening Day starter has transformed into a Swiss Army knife of sorts.
A's lefty Brett Anderson, who made five starts at the beginning of the season before going down with an injury, has resurfaced as a versatile reliever, giving the club not only another long-relief option, but a late-inning one as well. This has allowed them to rest overworked arms Ryan Cook and Sean Doolittle.
On Wednesday, Anderson threw three innings against the Rangers for the save. Two days prior, he tossed 1 1/3 innings vs. Texas, bridging the gap from the sixth to the eighth.
"As soon as you think you're settled into one role, the next day it'll change," said Anderson. "You just come to the park thinking you're going to pitch every day and go from there. Whenever they call me to throw, that's what I'm going to do. If it's long-relief or in the back end of the bullpen or starting, it doesn't matter."
"It's tough for him," said manager Bob Melvin. "He's the one guy that really doesn't know what his role is. He knows that if the opportunity comes up like yesterday, where we can stretch him out a little bit, we'll do that. He's also shown he can be a factor for us late in games for an inning. It makes it difficult for him to prepare, but it is what it is. He's a guy that might pitch in any particular role."
The results haven't been overwhelming -- Anderson has allowed five runs in 7 1/3 innings -- but Melvin remains encouraged.
"Maybe the numbers don't look as good as what his stuff is right now," he said. "His stuff looks good, and every time we've run him out there, it's looked good, whether it's in a long role or a short role."
Off DL, Norris provides reinforcement at catcher
OAKLAND -- The A's welcomed back Derek Norris to their roster on Thursday, giving them three healthy catchers to rotate through the lineup down the stretch.
Fresh off the disabled list, Norris did not start Thursday's series opener against the Astros, with right-hander Brad Peacock starting, but he could be in the lineup come Friday against southpaw Dallas Keuchel.
Norris, like Kurt Suzuki, was available off the bench Thursday, giving manager Bob Melvin an extra weapon when looking to match up against relievers. Norris will be playing with a fractured left big toe, but has maintained the pain is manageable.
"Having a third guy now gives us a chance to do some in-game stuff we weren't able to do before," said Melvin. "We feel like we have three quality guys. Whoever is starting on that particular day, we feel good about."
With a trio of catchers in tow, Melvin can also utilize the more experienced Suzuki as a defensive replacement late in games, particularly when Ryan Cook and Grant Balfour -- and their sliders -- are present.
"It's more comfortability and experience with some of the bullpens late, but the more Stephen [Vogt] catches, the more he gets acclimated to them too," said Melvin. "He does a nice job. He throws well and has done a good job."
Norris has a .345 average and .446 on-base percentage in 26 games since July 1.
Rehabbing Reddick closing in on live BP
OAKLAND -- The A's are targeting live batting practice for Josh Reddick at some point this weekend or early next week, which would mark the final step in his rehab from a right wrist sprain.
Oakland's right fielder is eligible to be activated off the disabled list on Tuesday, and whether he's ready to go by then will depend on how he gets through this step.
Reddick was batting .264 with five home runs -- all of which came in a two-day span in Toronto -- and nine RBIs over his last 15 games.
In his stead, the hot-hitting Brandon Moss has mostly been seen in right field. Since his move there, Moss is 10-for-26 (.385).
• With the addition of Norris on Thursday, the A's now have 33 players on the active roster. They've used 44 players total this year, which is the first time they've used fewer than 48 at this point in the season since 2006 (40).
• Stephen Vogt entered Thursday's contest riding a career-high seven-game hitting streak. He's 9-for-26 (.346) in that span, after going just 1-for-16 in his previous seven games.
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.